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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Académie Française forms

This Day in World History
For five years, beginning in 1629, a small group of writers gathered in Paris to discuss literary topics. The group soon came to the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, the power behind the French throne and a wealthy patron of the arts. He suggested that the body become official, an idea the group grudgingly accepted. On March 13, 1634, they formally constituted themselves as the Académie Française. The Academy has been in operation ever since except for a ten-year hiatus during the French Revolution. The following year they received a charter from the king.

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Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster strike Japan

: This Day in World History
Japan, situated on the Ring of Fire on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, has suffered some major earthquakes over the years. However, nothing before compared to the triple disaster of March 11, 2011: a massive earthquake followed by powerful tsunamis which led to a serious nuclear accident.

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International Women’s Day celebrated around the world

This Day in World History
Each year, women and men around the world honor the achievements of women and seek to promote women’s rights by celebrating International Women’s Day. The day’s origin can be traced to the National Woman’s Day staged by the Socialist Party of America from 1909 to 1913. Its goal was to advance the cause of women’s suffrage.

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Mendeleev’s Periodic Table presented in public

This Day in World History
On March 6, 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev’s breakthrough discovery was presented to the Russian Chemical Society. The chemist had determined that the known elements—70 at the time—could be arranged by their atomic weights into a table that revealed that their physical properties followed regular patterns. He had invented the periodic table of elements.

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Alexander II Becomes Czar of Russia

This Day in World History
When his father, Nicholas I, died of pneumonia, Alexander Nikolayevich Romanov succeeded to the throne of emperor of Russia, becoming Czar Alexander II. While his 36-year rule was marked by substantial reforms, it was also dogged by unrest and several assassination attempts.

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Final episode of TV series M*A*S*H airs

This Day in World History
On February 28, 1983, at the end of its eleventh season, M*A*S*H said goodbye to television. More than 105 million Americans in about 51 million homes watched the series finale, a two-and-a-half-hour-long movie directed by star Alan Alda that featured the show’s characteristic blend of comedy and drama.

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Adolf Hitler’s treason trial begins in Munich

This Day in World History
On February 26, 1924, Adolf Hitler and nine associates stood trial in a Munich courtroom. The charge was treason — they were accused of trying to overthrow the German republic. That day, Hitler turned the tables to accuse the German leaders who had surrendered in 1918, ending World War I, and created the republican government he so despised: “There is no such thing as high treason against the traitors of 1918,” he proclaimed.

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Empress of China becomes first US ship to trade with China

This Day in World History
Carrying a full load of goods, including 30 tons of ginseng, and finally free of the ice that had choked the harbor for weeks, the Empress of China set out from New York on February 22, 1784 for China. Just months after the British had finally evacuated the city after the Revolutionary War, American merchants were seizing the opportunity afforded by independence to enter the China trade.

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Cherokee Phoenix begins publication

This Day in World History
On February 21, 1828, the first Native American newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, began publication. Editor Elias Boudinot explained the paper’s purpose—to promote anything that will be to “the benefit of the Cherokees” and to prevent the tribe from “dwindl[ing] into oblivion.” Boudinot concluded his opening editorial by declaring his hope “for that happy period, when all the Indian tribes of America shall arise, Phoenix like, from their ashes.”

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Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister of Cuba

This Day in World History
Dressed in army fatigues and surrounded by supporters and reporters, 32-year old Fidel Castro took the oath of office as Cuba’s prime minister on February 16, 1959. He would remain in power for nearly fifty years.

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ENIAC unveiled to public

This Day in World History
On February 14, 1946, officials from the army and the University of Pennsylvania assembled at that institution’s Moore School of Engineering to reveal the results of a secret government project. They unveiled the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the world’s first general function, programmable electronic computer.

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Galileo arrives in Rome for trial before Inquisition

This Day in World History
Sixty-nine years old, wracked by sciatica, weary of controversy, Galileo Galilei entered Rome on February 13, 1633. He had been summoned by Pope Urban VIII to an Inquisition investigating his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The charge was heresy. The cause was Galileo’s support of the Copernican theory that the planets, including Earth, revolved around the sun.

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Emperor Meiji issues new constitution of Japan

This Day in World History
On February 11, 1889, Japan’s Emperor Meiji furthered his plan to modernize and westernize his nation by promulgating a new constitution. The new plan of government created a western-style two-house parliament, called the Diet, and a constitutional monarchy — though one with a Japanese character.

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